Career Overview

A number of careers are open to geological engineers, geologists and paleontologists. Job growth in the geosciences between 2010 and 2020 is expected to be 20% above the national average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career opportunities in private industry include positions in mineral exploration companies, petroleum exploration and production companies, petroleum service companies, engineering consulting firms, water resource and environmental firms and paleontology resource management and mitigation firms. Our graduates are also employed by local, state, federal and tribal agencies. Opportunities for graduate degree recipients include positions with the companies and agencies mentioned above as well as in higher education, museums and research laboratories.

Information on campus jobs, research opportunities, internships and co-ops, and other employment opportunities for students and graduates in Geology and Geological Engineering is available at our Student Jobs and Co-ops page.

Average starting salary for Geologists: **Pursuing graduate degrees or no salary offers reported (2012-13)


Companies hiring recent Geology graduates: Neset Consulting, Baker Hughes, Freeport McMoRan, Schlumberger, Goldcorp, Badlands National Park, Dakota Matrix, Quadra FNX, Rare Earth Resources, South Dakota Geological Survey, Topro Oil & Gas, Exxon-Mobil


Average starting salary for Geological Engineers: $70,933* (2012-13)

Companies hiring recent Geological Engineering graduates: Schlumberger, Gyrodata, Wipro, Smith International, Baker Hughes, Goldcorp, US Army Corps of Engineers, Barrick Gold, Newmont Mining, Kinross Gold, Halliburton

Placement Rate: 98% of 2012-13 SDSMT graduates are working in their career field or pursuing advanced degrees.


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"With the quality geological engineering degree I received from SDSM&T, I was able to pursue a rewarding career within state government where I've had experiences monitoring and regulating mineral industry operations.

Careers in the oil and gas, mineral and water resource fields are stronger than ever. The unique geology and hydrology of the Black Hills area provides students with a critical hands-on training environment that prepares them to transition well into all aspects of the geotechnical workplace."

Marc Macy, Project Engineer
South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources — BS in Geological Engineering from SDSM&T in 2004  


More information on co-ops, internships, job postings, career fairs, etc. is available at the SDSM&T Career Center website.

Additional Career Information

Your Roadmap to Success, of course, culminates in a meaningful geoscience career.  Visit our Geoscience Career Links page for links to additional online resources.